How to Become a Vet Tech in 5 Steps

If you’re looking for a career in veterinary medicine, becoming a vet tech is a great option. Here’s a quick guide on how to become a vet tech in just five steps.

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vet techs are in demand! If you love working with animals and want to pursue a career in the veterinary field, becoming a vet tech may be the perfect fit for you.

Veterinary technicians typically need an associate’s degree from an accredited community college or technical school, although some jobs may only require a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to completing a vet tech program, you will also need to pass a state-administered exam to become licensed or certified.

Here are 5 steps you can take to become a veterinary technician:

Step 1: Research Veterinary Technician Programs
The first step is to research accredited veterinary technician programs. There are many different types of programs available, so it’s important to find one that fits your needs and interests. For example, some programs offer evening and weekend classes for working adults, while others offer online courses.

Step 2: Complete a Veterinary Technician Program
Once you’ve selected a program, the next step is to complete the coursework and clinical rotations. Veterinary technician programs typically take 2-3 years to complete, although some accelerated programs may be available. During your program, you will take courses in animal anatomy and physiology, as well as medical math and pharmacology. You will also complete clinical rotations at local hospitals or clinics.

Step 3: Pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) After completing your vet tech program, you will need to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The VTNE is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and is used to assess entry-level competency in veterinary technicians. To prepare for the VTNE, many students choose to Purchase study guides and practice exams.
You can register for the VTNE online through the AAVSB website. The exam fee is $310 as of 2019, and it is valid for one year from the date of purchase. The VTNE is offered at testing centers around the country on a computerized testing system. It consists of 175 multiple-choice questions, covering nine content areas: animal husbandry; anesthesia; diagnostic imaging; pharmacology; clinic management; patient management; shelter medicine; surgery; and lab animal medicine/research animal medicine. The passing score for the VTNE is determined by each state Board of Veterinary Medicine—it ranges from 550-900 with most states requiring a score of 600 or above to pass. Check with your state board for specific requirements. Step 4: Become Licensed or Certified in Your State After passing the VTNE, you will need to obtain state licensure or certification before you can begin working as a veterinary technician. Each state has its own requirements for licensure and certification, so it’s important that you check with your state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine for specific requirements in your area. Generally speaking, licensure requires passing an examination administered by the state board, while certification generally only requires proof of graduation from an accredited veterinary technology program. Whichever route you choose, once you have obtained licensure or certification in your state, you will need to renew it every two years by meeting continuing education requirements set forth by the state board . Step 5: Find a Job After completing your education and passing the VTNE , all that’s left to do is find a job! Many new graduates find employment through friends or family members who work in the veterinary field . Others use online job boards or networking websites like LinkedIn . Once you have found a few potential positions , be sure to brush up on your interviewing skills so that you can land the job of your dreams!

What Does a Vet Tech Do?

vet techs work in animal hospitals and clinics under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. They perform a variety of tasks, such as taking X-rays, administering injections and pills, drawing blood, and preparing tissue samples for laboratory analysis. They also may assist in surgery and provide postoperative care.

Like any health care job, becoming a vet tech requires completing a specific education and training program. Once you have completed the necessary steps, you will need to obtain a state license to practice. Here is an overview of the process:

Step 1: Earn a high school diploma or Equivalent
Vet tech programs typically require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. Some programs may also require applicants to complete basic math and science courses, such as biology and chemistry.

Step 2: Complete an Approved Veterinary Technician Program
There are more than 200 accredited veterinary technology programs across the country that are available at community colleges, technical colleges, universities, and private career schools. Programs typically last two to four years and result in an associate’s degree or certificate in veterinary technology.

During their studies, vet tech students take courses in anatomy, physiology, animal husbandry, zoology, nutrition, chemistry, pharmacology, record keeping, office procedures, mathematics, computing skills, Animal Welfare,, first aid,, and radiology. Students also complete supervised clinical rotations in various animal care settings.

Step 3: Pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)
All states require vet techs to be licensed by passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). To be eligible to take the exam,, graduates of AVMA-accredited veterinary technology programs must submit an application to the AAVSB along with proof of graduation and a fee. The VTNE consists of 170 multiple-choice questions that cover nine content areas: preventative medicine; clinical pathology; pharmacology; medical nursing; dentistry; animal husbandry; imaging; anesthesiology; and surgery. Candidates are given four hours to complete the exam,, which is offered at testing centers across the country year-round., The AAVSB reports that the passing score for the VTNE is set by each state individually., Check with your state licensing board for specific score requirements., You will need to retake the exam if you do not pass it on your first try — most states allow candidates three tries over a five-year period before requiring them to complete another accredited veterinary technician program., However,, some states have additional requirements for reexamination., , For instance,, Florida requires candidates who fail twice within two years of each other to successfully complete 12 credit hours of coursework related to content areas identified on their preliminary score report before being eligible for reexamination., , Tennessee requires candidates who fail three times within three years of each other to successfully complete another accredited veterinary technician program before being eligible for reexamination. Candidates who fail four times total are permanently ineligible for licensure in Tennessee., , Step 4: Get Licensed by Your State board Each state has its own veterinary technician licensure Board that sets requirements for licensure in that jurisdiction., In most states,, licensure requires passing the VTNE as well as meeting any additional state-specific requirements., For example,, some states require candidates to pass an additional jurisprudence exam that covers state laws related to veterinary medicine while others mandate continuing education credits., Some states offer reciprocity agreements with other jurisdictions that allow candidates who are already licensed elsewhere to become licensed in their new state without having to retake exams they have already passed,, though they may still need to meet other requirements such as completing jurisprudence exams or continuing education credits., , Step 5: Consider Certification After becoming licensed,, many vet techs choose to pursue voluntary certification through one of several organizations such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) or American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). While not required for practice,, certification can demonstrate your commitment to professional development and excellence in your field!

Step One: Researching Schools

The first step to becoming a vet tech is researching which schools offer the best programs. There are many community colleges, technical schools, and even some online programs that offer accredited vet tech programs. To find a list of schools near you, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website. Once you have a list of potential schools, narrowed down your list by researching each individual school’s program requirements, length of the program, and tuition costs.

Step Two: Complete a Vet Tech Program
Once you have research and chosen a school, it’s time to complete a vet tech program. These programs typically take two years to complete and include both classroom and clinical work. During your clinical work, you’ll get real-world experience working with animals in a veterinary setting. After completing a vet tech program, you’ll need to take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). This exam is required in order to become licensed in most states.

Step Three: Become Licensed or Certified
After passing the VTNE, you’re one step closer to becoming a vet tech! The next step is to become licensed or certified in your state. Each state has different requirements for licensure, so be sure to check with your state Board of Veterinary Examiners for specific requirements. In most cases, you will need to submit an application along with proof that you have completed an accredited vet tech program and passed the VTNE. Once you are licensed or certified, you may need to renew your license every few years (again, this varies by state).

Step Four: Find a Job
After completing steps one through three, you are now ready to find a job as a vet tech! There are many places where vet techs can work including private veterinary clinics, hospitals, animal shelters, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers, research laboratories, and more. To find job openings in your area, check out websites like Indeed and Monster or search for “vet tech jobs” on Google. You can also contact local veterinary clinics or hospitals directly and inquire about open positions.

Step Five: Advance Your Career
Once you have been working as a vet tech for awhile, you may want to consider advancing your career by becoming certified in a specialty area or taking on additional responsibilities at your job such as management or supervisory roles. There are many professional organizations such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) that offer certification programs in various specialty areas such as dentistry, anesthesia, emergency & critical care, internal medicine devices technician training authority management zoonotic animal diseases , etc.) Becoming certified shows employers that you are committed to lifelong learning and improving your skillset—plus it can open up new opportunities for career advancement

Step Two: Applying to Schools

There are a growing number of accredited veterinary technician programs available both online and at traditional schools. While certification is not technically required to work in the field, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a formal education program. In order to be accepted into a school, you will need to submit transcripts from any previous college coursework, as well as take entrance exams.

Some of the most popular veterinary technician programs are offered by community colleges, but there are also many private colleges that offer excellent programs. Once you have been accepted into a school, you can expect to complete coursework in subjects such as animal anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, surgical nursing, and clinical lab procedures. Most programs also include a hands-on component that will give you the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with animals.

Step Three: Completing a Veterinary Technician Program

After you have completed the first two steps, you will need to complete a Veterinary Technician Program. There are many different types of programs available, but most will require that you complete an accredited program. These programs typically take two years to complete, and they will prepare you for the state licensing exam.

Step Four: Taking the Veterinary Technician National Exam

To become credentialed as a vet tech, you will need to take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The VTNE is a computer-based exam that covers all aspects of veterinary nursing care.

You will need to register for the exam with the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). Once you have registered, you will be able to schedule your exam at a Prometric testing center near you.

The VTNE is comprised of 300 multiple-choice questions, and you will have four hours to complete the exam. The passing score for the VTNE is 450 out of 900 possible points.

If you do not pass the VTNE on your first try, you may retake the exam up to four times within a 12-month period.

Step Five: Finding a Job

The last step to becoming a vet tech is to find a job. You can look for openings at animal hospitals, clinics, rescue organizations, and more. Many new grads choose to work at general practice facilities, as they provide a well-rounded experience.

You may also want to consider working at a specialty practice, such as an emergency hospital or a facility that focuses on a certain area of veterinary medicine, such as dentistry or dermatology. Once you have several years of experience under your belt, you may even want to start your own business!


It takes a special person to become a vet tech. Someone who is passionate about animal care, has excellent communication skills, and is able to work well under pressure. If you have what it takes, then follow these five steps to become a vet tech.

1) Get a degree or certification in veterinary technology from an accredited institution.
2) Become licensed or registered in your state as a veterinary technician.
3) Consider completing an internship or externship at a veterinary clinic or hospital.
4) Pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
5) Find a job as a vet tech at a veterinary clinic, hospital, or other animal care facility.

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